June Contents:

Cow milk
Vegan Diet
Human Genome


"It makes chemotherapy more bearable for patients without interfering in the cancer treatment," said Dr. Hari Sharma.   He is a professor emeritus and former director of cancer prevention and natural products research at Ohio State University.  He and researchers at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi recently completed a study on Amrit and presented their findings at the St. Joseph Hospital's Center for Healthy Aging in Chicago recently.  Amrit has been used in India as an antidote for healthy aging for generations.   Amrit is an antioxidant that contains 44 herbs and minerals, including large amounts of vitamins C and E, as well as beta-carotene. According to Dr. Sharma, Amrit increases a chemical in the liver that is responsible for cleansing from the body toxins that cause the side effects.  Maharishi Aayurveda Products International, in Colorado Springs, Co, sells it.

Cow Milk:

According to a study published Dr. Suvi M. Virtanen with the University of Tampere, Finland, in the June issue of Diabetes, consuming large quantities of cow's milk during childhood may increase the risk of developing type-1 diabetes in children who are already genetically susceptible to the disorder.


Cholesterol, and a protein named TACO, may carry a health risk that has nothing to do with diet. Swiss researchers have found that cholesterol on certain cell surfaces lays down a welcome mat for tuberculosis (TB) and other infections. Once inside, the friendly TACO protein invites the bacteria to stay.


According to a Harvard study published in this month's Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, teen-age girls who drink soda - particularly cola - are far more likely to break a bone.  Grace Wyshak, an associate professor at the Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School, suggested that a chemical in colas - phosphoric acid - might actually weaken bones.


According to Dr. Laurie J. Goodyear, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, exercise appears to increase the activity of a substance called AMP kinase, which causes muscle to take up and use more glucose, or blood sugar. Speaking to Reuters Health, Dr. Goodyear predicted a "worldwide explosion" in type 2 diabetes, largely due to poor food choices and inactivity. Regular exercise, she said, would help stave off this explosion by preventing insulin dysfunction in the first place. Already, though, the disease—previously referred to as "adult-onset diabetes"—is on the rise among children. This problem, according to Goodyear, is particularly evident in urban areas, where children often have little opportunity for activity and tend to have poor diets.

Vegan Diet:

British researchers at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in Oxford said that men who eat a vegan diet had lower levels of a protein associated with prostate cancer. Their findings suggested that a diet without meat or dairy products could reduce the risk of contracting the deadly disease. Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in British men. Each year, the disease kills about 9,500 men and about 21,000 new cases are diagnosed.  The study was published in the British Journal of Cancer. Previous research had found prostate cancer rates were lower in countries with low consumption of meat and dairy products.


According to a study presented by B.H. Sung and colleagues from Kaleida Health-Millard Fillmore Hospital in Buffalo, New York at the annual meeting of the American Society of Hypertension, yoga in the form of controlled breathing lowered blood pressure in people who were subject to mental stress.


“We are troubled by the uncritical embrace of this trend by the general public, individual physicians, and American medical schools,” said the group of nine researchers and chaplains, led by Richard Sloan of the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York. The trend, they said in an article in the current issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, is based on “limited, narrowly focused, and methodologically flawed studies of the place of religion in medical practice.”  But, they said, “Religion does not need science to justify its existence or appeal.”

Human Genome:

We are all made of the same genes! Each one of us is essentially 99.9 percent genetically identical in our genome of 3 billion genetic subunits.  However, we are different-  height, weight, shape, color of hair, eye and skin and so on.  It is the 0.1 percent, or approximately 3 million bases, that accounts for our differences. Our genome is like our horoscope that tells our future. Can we avoid the predictions? May be, but not yet. First, watch out for the insurance company that might deny you insurance for having a predisposition for something! Later, gene therapy and gene-based drugs will be available for most diseases (say, 50 years from now).   A new era of eugenics began with the sequencing of Human Genome. Hope this powerful technology will not be misused or abused!

Sreenivasarao Vepachedu, June 28, 2000

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